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June 9, 2023Tech Safety for Survivors of Domestic Violence
This blog is sponsored by Smart Choice Communications, presenting sponsor of CASA’s 2023 Rhinestone Rodeo.
Now more than ever, technology can give abusers dangerous tools to stalk and keep track of their victims. While survivors are never to blame for the abuse they experience, CASA wants to make safety resources available and easily accessible for anyone who may need them. Below is a list of tech safety tips that can help survivors stay safe in our digital age.
*Although the following list can be useful, it’s important to remember that every situation and circumstance is unique. If you find yourself feeling unsafe or unsure about your situation, it is highly recommended that you reach out to CASA today for immediate assistance and support.
Logging out of your account is even more important if you’re using someone else’s device or a public access computer. Uncheck the ‘keep me logged in’ feature and decline when the web browser prompts you to allow it to remember your password to automatically log you in next time. Failing to do this will make it easier for anyone to pick up your computer, tablet, or smartphone and post away, pretending to be you.
Use a different password for each account, rather than a password that someone who knows you can easily guess or a one-word password that can be easily hacked. Always use 2-factor authentication so you are notified when someone is trying to access your account.
Review the privacy settings on all your online accounts, particularly your social media ones. Most sites allow users to limit what others see, whether it’s status updates or profile information.
Apple’s new Safety Check feature allows users to quickly revoke sharing permissions if a situation changes.
Most bluetooth devices have location-sharing capabilities. You could be sharing your location without even knowing it. You can control which app has access to your location by turning off that option through your smartphone settings (most phones have location privacy options in the settings). Some social media platforms also allow you to manage your location privacy through the site’s privacy settings.
You can turn off ‘geotagging’ capabilities through the privacy settings on your camera app. Don’t forget that even if you turned off the location option for your camera app, the photo sharing or social media app that you’re using may share your location – so turn off the location option for the app as well. You can also delete the location data from photos taken with the location settings on by going to ‘properties’ on the digital photograph and manually deleting the information.
Connecting your Instagram to your Facebook, or other social media platforms may make it easier to update everyone following you with just one click, but that also means that a lot more people will have access to a lot more information about you. It also makes it more difficult to lock down your privacy. For example, if someone gains access to one account they may be able to access your linked accounts.
Using open wireless networks can leave you susceptible to hackers accessing your private information. If you’re going to check bank accounts, buy something where you have to give your credit card information, or do anything sensitive, wait until you are back on a secure network. And if your personal hotspot or wireless network at home doesn’t have a password on it, it’s a great idea to put a password on it now!
You can choose to browse the internet privately in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Private browsing means that someone can’t open your web browser after you’ve used it and go through the history to see which sites you visited. Be aware that you have to close the browser to erase your history. If you leave it open, users after you can still see your browsing history.
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